Monday, February 13, 2006

A discussion of what's new in Access 12

A discussion of what's new in Access 12

If you haven't had a chance to read up on what's new and exciting in the next version of Office, here is a great blog covering the new features in Access 12. I have been using Office 12 Beta 1 for over a month now and can say this will be the most significant Office upgrade since the release of Office 97. Most importantly for developers, Access is getting a lot of attention this time around. Check out the Access 12 blog and start learning the new features now ... if you wait, there will be too much to learn.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Do you use Email efficiently?

How many of you have over 1000 items in your inbox? Or have over 20 unread messages you have no intention of ever reading? There is nothing more annoying in the world of business than people who don't use email efficiently. It's not a toy! Used correctly, email can be one of the most efficient forms of communication AND organization. It can also be the most time consuming and frustrating tools available. This article does a GREAT job of outlining 50 ways to use email more efficiently.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Free Microsoft Virtual Labs

SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 have launched! To help developers get "ramped up" for the new features, Microsoft is offering a variety of free training opportunities. Most notibly, I think, are the virtual labs, where you can try out the software in a hosted environment - for free! I've done a few of the labs and think there is a ton of value in this type of training.

SQL Server 2005 Virtual Labs

Monday, October 17, 2005

Access your files from anywhere

Ever been at work and needed a file from your home computer? Avvenu is a new service that allows you to have access to all your files from any computer with internet access. The only pre-requisite is that your home computer will need to be left on and logged onto the internet whenever you want to have access to your files. Best of all ... it's FREE!!

You might want to also check out another service I posted on a while back ... Logmein - you can access your computer from anywhere ... kind of like PC Anywhere used to work - and it's FREE as well.

Access Day

If you have ever attended a user group meeting, you know how useful and informative they can be. The Boston area has a user group for Access that meets the third Wednesday of every month. Each meeting provides demonstations, tips & tricks, and troubleshooting for all levels of Access users. I have been contemplating starting something like this at VTEC, but would need to know that the attendance would be consistent to make it worth putting forth the effort in gathering speakers, putting together presentations, and scheduling and organizing the meetings. If this is something that interests you, please drop me an email or post here. Please give me some ideas of topics you'd like to see. Check out Access Day in Boston for some ideas (and useful links/examples).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Access Add-ins

FMS Inc. has been providing high quality Access, SQL Server, and VB add-ins since 1992 and has recently updated all their tools to support Access 2003. I have personally used all their tools and highly recommend them. While these add-ins certainly aren't cheap, they will save you hours of development and provide much more functionality than the built-in controls.

Check out the tools here.

Recover corrupt Access databases

Tony from has created a new freeware utility that helps recover corrupt Access databases. Access Database Mechanic uses the following three methods: compact & repair, decompile, and completely rebuild an .mdb. If you've ever had the sick feeling of trying to open a corrupt database, this tool will definitely be something worth hanging onto.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Treo 650

My job entails me being away from the office on a regular basis. I've been using an iPaq as my pda for several years. As technology has advanced over the years, I've been constantly looking for a SINGLE device that I could carry to replace my pda and my cell phone. Most of the reviews I have read on these devices are that they do ONE function (cell or pda) very well and provide the basic functionality of the other. Verizon recently release the Treo 650, so I thought I would give it a shot to see if it would be a useful replacement.
At first, I must admit, I was ready to throw this device out the window. However, after some growing pains and learning the quirks (MANY!!) of the Palm OS, I've decided to stick with it. I don't know that I would call it a SMARTphone but it has become an essential tool. While I much prefer the Pocket PC operating system, the Pocket PCs were MUCH too pricey for me to consider. It certainly isn't perfect, but having always-on access to the internet, email, calendar and contacts (which wirelesssly sync to Outlook - thank to free software from Verizon) has made the 650 invaluable.

Choose Function

It's been a while since I've come across a new VBA function that I haven't used before AND find useful. The Choose function has similar functionality to the VLookup function in Excel. If you need to lookup a value but can't justify storing the values in an array, table, or lookup list, then the Choose function might be a good alternative.

Choose(index, choice-1[, choice-2, ... [, choice-n]])

I recently used this in a database I was working with a database which tracks driver information for a trucking company. The driver classification was one of the fields in the database (not designed by me). I wanted to hide the classifications in code, so that some relatively savey Access user couldn't alter the 'lookup' field. So, I started to build my own lookup when I found the Choose function. I used it as the control source of one the driver classification text box on a form:


If the [class] had a value of 1, then the text box displayed "Experienced", 2 displayed "Veteran", and 3 displayed "Suspended."

I used the Choose function so that I could hide the three values in code and because I didn't want to add another table to the database to store just three values (which SHOULD never change). One other side note was that I knew that the [class] field was only being displayed on one form, otherwise I would have made my own Public function to display the results of the Choose function.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Putting some ZIP back into Windows

There are several services that start automatically with Windows XP. Many of these services are never used and should be disabled to gain performance. Windows IT Pro has a great article that outlines the most common services that can be disabled.

Unneeded Services in Windows XP